Over Two Hundred Residents Share What Saving Stray FM Means To Them

By Conor McKenzie, Jul 08, 2020 11:07

Over 200 residents have shared their "truly heart-warming" personal stories about what Stray FM means to them with the Liberal Democrats, as over 3,000 people have signed their petition to save it.

Reading so many people’s personal stories of what Stray FM means to them has been nothing short of truly heart-warming. - Pat Marsh

Liberal Democrats launched a campaign to Save Stray FM several weeks ago when it was announced that its owners, Bauer Media, wanted to merge it into a much larger service called GREATEST HITS RADIO, “local” to Yorkshire & Lincolnshire.

Residents have rallied around their campaign to Save Stray FM, with well over 3,000 people having signed their petition and over 200 sharing their stories.

Councillor Pat Marsh — Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Harrogate Borough Council — has written to Bauer Media to put pressure on the company to reverse their decision which will effectively close Stray FM, sharing the petition and many of the stories shared.

In her letter, Councillor Marsh says that Bauer Media should “reconsider its decision and explore alternative arrangements which recognise the community asset that Stray FM is in its current form, providing ‘proper local radio’ to the area it has so excellently served the past several decades.”

We are incredibly lucky to have such a mix of brilliant local news organisations, making Harrogate district the wonderful community that it is. - Judith Rogerson

She also calls on Andrew Jones MP to put pressure on the Government to offer a support package in the face of the coronavirus pandemic due to a considerable loss in advertising revenue, and argues that we should be offering public subsidy to enable quality, independent, and local journalism to survive.

In a survey of over 200 signatories, 85% said they would support government subsidy of independent, local radio and journalism — while 96% believe that the Government should have provided a support package to local radio and newspapers in face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting, Councillor Marsh says:

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who have joined our campaign in just a matter of weeks, it’s a real testament to just how important it is to the community that we save Stray FM. Reading so many people’s personal stories of what Stray FM means to them has been nothing short of truly heart-warming.

“This is not a done deal. There are many avenues that we’re exploring and we will do all we can to see Stray FM continue.”

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson, Judith Rogerson, added:

“The stories that people have told us show just how much Stray FM is a cherished local service. It will be sorely missed if it goes. We are incredibly lucky to have such a mix of brilliant local news organisations, making Harrogate district the wonderful community that it is.

“Local journalism is hugely important and the government should be stepping in to protect it, both in the face of the pandemic and given the impact technology has had on advertising. It is a public service that offers real benefits to the community, so needs to be protected.”

Readers can add their name to the campaign to Save Stray FM here: www.hklibdems.org.uk/save-strayfm

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